Move over Robin Hood, make way for a band of merry young archers who will soon be learning the skills of seasoned bowmen.
They’ll be acquiring them beginning Oct. 19 at the Youth After School Archery Program hosted by the Town of Payson Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department and Arizona Game and Fish Department.
The program will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. each Tuesday and Thursday through Nov. 29. It is open to youths in grades four to 12 for a $30 registration fee.
Mary McMullen, town trails and outdoor recreation coordinator, says class size will be limited to 10 students.
On hand to teach the class will be certified archer instructor Ken Crump who will be assisted by Drew Justice.
Also set to assist is Stephan Franey an 18-year-old graduate of previous archery programs.
“We are very excited to have him,” said McMullen.
The program will be held inside the Julia Randall Elementary School gymnasium where an archery curtain will be set up and students will use basic bows and soft arrows.
“We have held the program (in past years) outdoors at Tonto Rim Sports Club, but then you have to worry about the weather,” McMullen said.
The Game and Fish Department provides the archery equipment kits, which include bows, arrows, targets with stands and backstops.
AG&F officials say the after-school program is designed to teach safe, ethical recreational archery and to promote awareness and appreciation of archery techniques.
McMullen says the program also teaches patience and concentration, as well as an appreciation of the outdoors.
It will also focus on terminology and the correct use of archery equipment.
A goal of the instructors will be to “make it fun,” said McMullen.
The after-school program will be followed next spring by the inaugural Explore Bowhunting course sponsored by the Game and Fish Department.
It is also open to youths in fourth- to 12th-grade and was developed by the Archery Trade Association to get more young people, and adults, engaged in outdoor activities.
The program consists of 22 different activities to teach basic bowhunting skills, photography and wildlife watching.
McMullen anticipates the program will be held at TRSC and students will be allowed to use the new McKenzie 3D wildlife foam targets recently purchased by the Mogollon Sporting Association.
The exact dates of Explore Bowhunting will be announced soon.
For more information on their archery program, call McMullen at (928) 474-5242, ext. 8 or log on to: http://www.paysonrimcountry.com.